Your water pipes will freeze if the temperature drops below 32 degrees F. However, they need to be at least 30 degrees F before it can freeze. The temperature in your home is equally important. Here are some tips to prevent pipes freezing in cold temperatures. We also discuss the minimum temperature that pipes should be kept from freezing.
How cold does it have to be for pipes to freeze?
Water freezes at 32 degrees F. However, pipes will freeze at a temperature of at least 20 degrees F. Windchill can also play a role, which can cause temperatures to drop as high as ten to twenty degree.
This happens most often along exterior walls, cracks, or gaps in your foundation. You can’t control the temperature outside so it’s important to be more concerned about the temperature inside your home.
Which Pipes are most likely to freeze?
While any pipe can freeze when it gets cold enough, certain pipes are more susceptible to freezing due to their geographic location. These are the pipes most likely to freeze.
- Pipes located near exterior walls
- Uninsulated pipes
- Pipes for unheated areas like crawl spaces, garages and attics
- Heat that is not well circulated, such as under kitchen or bathroom cabinets.
- Outdoor spigots, hose bibbs
- Irrigation lines and water sprinklers
- Swimming pool lines
What is the minimum temperature to keep pipes from freezing?
It is recommended that pipes are kept from freezing at 55 degrees F. But, it is safer to have them stay between 60 and 68 degrees F. This will ensure that your pipes are warm enough to keep them from freezing. This is particularly true if your home is located in a warmer climate that is not well insulated from the cold.
How to Keep Pipes from Freezing
To prevent pipes freezing, follow these steps to winterize your home by the end of fall.
Insulate your pipes
Insulating your pipes will prevent them from freezing. Wrap foam insulation around pipes that are visible if you can.
They are available in rolls or pre-cut sections at most home improvements stores for 50C/feet. Cover any water pipes visible, particularly in basements or garages.
Insulating your entire house is a good idea if you can’t see the pipes. This will not only keep the cold out in winter but also keep the heat inside your home during summer.
Turn off sprinklers and spigots
You must shut off the water spigot from outside your house and drain it. You will find a shutoff valve for most spigots in your basement, or utility room.
Turn on the spigot once the water has been turned off. The spigot will drain any remaining water from the pipe. Close the spigot. To block out cold air, you can also install a foam insulation covering over the faucet.
Winterize your in-ground sprinkler system. Turn off the water supply, then turn on the sprinklers. Remember to turn off any timers that are connected to the system.
Garage doors should be closed and the area heated
Attached garages should be kept closed in winter, especially at night. To keep your garage warm, you can add insulation to the door. Insulate water pipes located in your garage.
You should heat your garage when it is very cold. Propane burners can be used, but they can also produce carbon dioxide that can cause you to suffocate. Electric heaters are safer. Remember to heat the walls with water pipes if you’re using an electric heater.
Cabinets with Open Under-Sink
Pipes can freeze in cabinets below sinks, particularly if they are located along an outside wall. Cabinet doors can block heat and cold air from entering heated rooms.
You can help improve air circulation and decrease the chance of pipes freezing by opening cabinet doors. While you shouldn’t open the cabinet doors when it is extremely cold, it is usually necessary to do so at night when it is cooler.
You should also use a space heater if it is colder than 0deg F. It should be placed four to five feet from the cabinet and directed at the cabinet’s airflow.
Keep your faucets plugged!
You can also keep your pipes from freezing by allowing the faucets to run. A slow trickle can prevent pipes from freezing.
You can run your faucets at any time. However, it is best to do so when the temperature outside is below 0 degrees F. Hot water pipes can freeze just as easily as cold water lines.
Make sure you open both handles if your faucet has more than one handle. To ensure hot and cold water flow, you should leave the single-handle faucets in their center.
Make a Plan Before You Go on Vacation
Even if it isn’t cold, plan ahead when you go on vacation. Set your thermostat to between 64 and 68 degrees F before you leave and make sure that the under-sink cabinets are open.
A friend, relative, or neighbor should inspect your home each day. Ask them to check the house each day, and if they are able to stay over night if it is below freezing.